Last updated: 16/10/2022

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E-scooters dominate the image of big cities and whiz past us every day. They are practical for covering short distances and very handy. What’s more, riding an e-scooter is simply fun, so it’s no wonder that the devices are experiencing a boom.

With our big e-scooter test 2023 we want to help you find the right e-scooter for you. We have compared e-scooters up to 20 km/h and e-scooters from 20 km/h and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages for you. In addition, we have compiled a few aspects for you to consider before buying to make your decision easier.




Summary

  • No driving licence is required to drive an e-scooter, unless the device is travelling faster than 20km/h. The driver must be at least 14 years old.
  • Helmets are not compulsory for e-scooters. However, as you are actively participating in traffic, we strongly recommend that you wear a helmet.
  • All e-scooters must be insured and have a road permit. If this is not the case, you may be subject to heavy fines.

The Best E-Scooter: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for e-scooters

In the following sections, we explain which factors can be important for you to decide on a product when buying your e-scooter.

The criteria that help you compare e-scooters with each other include:

Below we explain each criterion in detail and what is important.

Speed

The maximum speed of your e-scooter depends on its capacity and performance. Depending on how fast you want to travel with your e-scooter, different products are possible for you.

Some e-scooters can reach a speed of up to 80 km/h and a maximum range of up to 400 km.

Currently approved e-scooters travel at around 20 km/h and cover an average of 30 to 60 kilometres.

It should be noted that the higher the speed, the greater the demands on the driver. The risk increases with the speed and thus demands more attention and skills from the driver. Details on insurance and driving licence requirements are covered in detail in the guidebook.

The price of your e-scooter also increases with the performance. If you do not need a scooter with high speed, it is financially worthwhile to purchase a slower model.

Range of use

Climbing ability is the ability of a vehicle to climb a certain slope.

Before you decide on an e-scooter, you should think about what you want to use your e-scooter for.

If you mainly use your e-scooter in urban areas with few gradients, the gradient capability is of secondary importance to you. However, if you want to use your e-scooter on uphill routes as well, the gradient capability is important for you.

To be able to optimally master inclines, you should purchase an e-scooter with a geared motor. The top speed of this e-scooter is reduced, but the torque on the wheel is considerably increased.

Accordingly, you can cope better with slopes. The opposite would be a direct drive motor, which transmits the motor revolutions directly to the road and has a correspondingly higher top speed, but also less torque.

The option to fold the e-scooter can also be important for you, for example if you want to take it with you on public transport and save space. Some models do not have this functionality and are not foldable.

Rider

Who will be riding the e-scooter in the end is crucial for the purchase decision. For example, every e-scooter up to 20 km/h may be driven by a person who is at least 14 years old.

Younger drivers are not allowed to drive such an e-scooter on public property.

So-called children’s e-scooters up to a maximum of 12 km/h may also only be driven by persons over 14 years of age.

It is also important to make sure that the e-scooter fits the stature of the rider. For example, if the handlebar is too low or too high, it will be more difficult to steer the e-scooter and lead to insecurity.

Number of persons/weight

According to the law, an e-scooter may only be driven by a single person. There may even be fines for non-compliance. Therefore, it makes little sense to look for a model that is designed for two people or that can carry the weight of two people.

However, the maximum carrying weight of the e-scooter may be important for the handlebars for other reasons. Among the e-scooters, you can find models made of aluminium as well as plastic.

Aluminium is more robust than plastic and yet comparatively light. e-scooters made of plastic are less resilient and designed for lighter passengers such as children.

As a rule, the maximum carrying weight of e-scooters is around 80kg. This covers most handlebars, but not all. Tall men in particular regularly reach this weight limit.

Therefore, there are also e-scooters with a maximum load of 100kg. So check this product information urgently before buying.

Size/number of tyres

The size or number of tyres may also be of interest to you.

Three-wheeled e-scooters are usually models with one seat. Accordingly, these models are often preferred by older people. They are a slightly different product than the e-scooters that are now on the road in large numbers and are ridden standing up.

A distinction is made between pneumatic tyres and hard rubber tyres.

The size of the wheels influences safety and ride comfort.

The tyre size of most e-scooters is between eight and ten inches (diameter). The size of the tyres is significantly responsible for the experience and the driving characteristics on different surfaces and weather conditions.

The advantage of pneumatic tyres is that they absorb vibrations on uneven surfaces better than hard rubber tyres. Accordingly, pneumatic tyres provide a better driving experience. In addition, the tyre pressure can be adjusted to the surface if necessary.

Decision: What types of e-scooters are there and which is the right one for me?

If you want to buy an e-scooter, there are basically two different types of products you can choose between.

Type advantages disadvantages
e-Scooter up to 20km/h permitted from 14 years of age, easy to use, no driving licence necessary speed limit
e-Scooter from 20km/h speed of up to 50km/h possible driving licence must be available, no road registration possible in Germany

If you would like to know more about the two different types of e-scooter, you can find out more in the following two sections.

e-Scooter bis 20km/h

E-scooters up to 20km/h

Most e-scooters on the market, and also those for hire, travel at around 20km/h. You don’t need a driving licence or a moped test certificate for any of these models. You only need to be 14 years old.

Advantages
  • No driving licence required
  • permitted from the age of 14
  • road approval possible
Disadvantages
  • limited speed

As the name suggests, however, these e-scooters do not travel faster than 20km/h. Insurance and road registration are compulsory, a helmet is not, but strictly recommended.

Speed is not the only criterion for road approval. Accordingly, your e-scooter is not automatically approved for road use in Germany just because it meets the maximum speed. So check this before you buy if road approval is important to you.

e-Scooter ab 20km/h

E-scooters from 20km/h

Some e-scooters on the market reach speeds of more than 20km/h. These models may only be driven by people with a class AM driving licence. If you have a car driving licence, this class is included. Accordingly, the driver must be at least 18 years old.

Advantages
  • higher speed
Disadvantages
  • Driving licence must be available
  • no road permit in Germany
  • more expensive

The advantage is clearly the higher speed and the fact that you get from A to B faster. Unfortunately, the risk increases accordingly. If you are riding a faster e-scooter, you should have a good command of traffic, which is why a driving licence is a prerequisite.

It is important to note that e-scooters that travel faster than 20 km/h do not currently have a road permit in Germany.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about e-scooters answered in detail

In the following guide, we will briefly answer all your unanswered questions about e-scooters. Afterwards, you will learn the most important background information and requirements for e-scooters.

What is an e-scooter and what can it do?

An e-scooter is a scooter that is powered by an electric motor. The motor is powered by a battery, which must be charged regularly at the socket.

Since June 2019, e-scooters have been approved in Germany. In addition to many rental services in major cities, more and more private individuals are also acquiring their own e-scooter for personal mobility.

Who is an e-scooter suitable for?

In principle, an e-scooter is suitable for everyone. However, there are some points to consider before you dare to use an e-scooter.

  • Balance: As the e-scooter is ridden on two wheels and can reach a considerable speed depending on the model, it is important that you can keep your balance.
  • Traffic rules: You should understand traffic and know what the rules of the road are. With your e-scooter, you are actively participating in traffic.
  • Practice: Before you venture out on the road, you should feel comfortable on the e-scooter. It is best to practise at home or in a car park so that you will be able to control the e-scooter even in hectic situations.
  • Driving licence: Some models can only be driven with a driving licence. So check in advance whether this is the case for your e-scooter.

If you pay attention to all these points and drive responsibly, nothing should stand in your way of riding an e-scooter.

How much does an e-scooter cost?

E-scooters are an expensive purchase. The cheapest ones cost between 300 and 400 euros. However, there are few upper limits, so there are also many models in the 600 to 800 euro range on the market.

How fast does an e-scooter go?

An e-scooter can go up to 80km/h, depending on its performance. However, the majority of currently registered e-scooters only reach a speed of around 50 km/h and a range of 100 to 150km.

Many models on the market, as well as the rental devices from Lime and Co, even only reach a speed of 20km/h.

e-Scooter-1

With an e-scooter, you can travel at speeds of up to 80km/h. However, current models or rental devices usually only go 20km/h.
(Image source: Mat Reding / unsplash.com)

Do e-scooters have to be registered?

All e-scooters that go faster than 6 km/h require an operating licence and insurance. When you take out insurance, you receive an insurance licence plate. Without the operating licence, there is also no road approval.

Without a road permit for the e-Scooter in Germany, you will face a fine of 70 euros. If the insurance number plate is missing, 40 euros will be due.

It is mandatory to obtain the road registration.

If you have an accident with an uninsured or unregistered e-scooter, the costs will not be covered and must be borne by you as a private individual.

What insurance do you have to take out for an e-scooter?

Insurance for the e-scooter is not included in the general liability insurance. A separate motor vehicle liability insurance policy must be taken out, which costs about 20 to 40 euros per year.

Proof of insurance is provided by a self-adhesive insurance sticker that must be attached to the back of the e-Scooter. In addition to motor vehicle liability insurance, partial casco insurance can also be taken out.

Is there a helmet requirement for e-scooters?

There is no obligation to wear a helmet, but it is highly recommended as you are travelling at high speed. In addition, with your e-scooter you are a participant in the traffic, which also includes many other, larger participants such as trucks and cars. A helmet may save your life and should be worn as a matter of urgency.

Where can an e-scooter be charged on the road?

In principle, your e-scooter can be charged anywhere there is a power socket. However, it can be difficult to find a place on the road where you are allowed to charge your e-scooter and have the time to wait until your e-scooter has juice again.

It is therefore best to always charge your e-scooter at home in advance. When buying an e-scooter, think about how long the distances you want to cover are and buy an appropriate model.

Alternatively, you can buy a spare battery and carry it with you. This way you can replace the batteries on the road and always be mobile.

How does an e-scooter need to be maintained?

An e-scooter requires more maintenance than a normal bicycle or scooter. You should take the device to a specialist shop for maintenance once a year if you ride it frequently.

Where on the road do I have to ride the e-scooter?

You may ride your e-scooter on cycle paths, cycle lanes and cycle lanes. Only if these are not available are you allowed to use the carriageway. Like bicycles, you then ride on the side of the road. On the pavement, in the pedestrian zone and in one-way streets, e-scooters are prohibited.

What alternatives are there to an e-scooter?

As an alternative to an e-scooter, you could buy a regular scooter that is not motorised. However, this means less speed and propulsion via your own muscle power by pushing with your foot.

If you simply don’t want to buy an e-scooter but still want to ride one, there are various offers to rent e-scooters in the big cities. The handling is simple via an app and you pay per minute used.

e-Scooter-2

E-scooters from Lime, a well-known rental service, can be rented in many large cities and then returned or left at any location.
(Image source: Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum / unsplash.com)

What accessories are available for e-scooters?

Accessories for e-scooters include helmets, handlebar bags, locks and replacement batteries. These accessories are available in the same online shops or specialised shops as the e-scooters themselves.

Is there a blood alcohol limit for driving an e-scooter?

The same rules apply to e-scooters as apply to car drivers when it comes to alcohol. A blood alcohol limit of 0.5 per mille applies. Non-compliance can result in fines or suspension of the driving licence.

Can an e-scooter be delivered by post?

E-scooters are offered in countless online shops and can be conveniently delivered by post or by courier to your home.

How do I take the e-scooter with me on public transport?

E-scooters that can be folded up are treated as a “thing” by German transport companies. This means that you can carry the e-Scooter with you without a ticket. All other e-scooters are treated in the same way as bicycles.

Image source: Kostenko/ 123rf.com

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